Had the gang over for gaming yesterday. Well, part of it. Me, Mark, Jason and Dave played Successors. Considering that I’m the most experienced (with four plays under my belt), Jason and Dave haven’t played it before, and Dave’s been too busy to look at the rules ahead of time, it went very well.

Random draw got me Peithon and Antipater – Media and Macedonia. That’s three games where I’ve drawn Antipater. As usual, the person who got Egypt was the Usurper (Mark got Ptolemy and Craterus). With such a spread out position, it was obvious I would be fighting two very different wars. Worse, Jason got Lysimachus and Leonnatus – Thrace and Hellespontine, so he had a nice concentrated position right on my border. One of my first card draws was Thracian Mercenaries, which requires owning a space in Thrace to use for the event. So I went to camp in a corner of Thrace so I could get some more troops and withdraw. And Jason immediately went after me and defeated Antipater. Thankfully, various tribal activations, and what the others were doing kept him distracted enough that he didn’t get to take Macedonia from me on turn 1.

At the other end of the board, Dave had gotten Perdiccas and Antigonus – Babylon and Phrygia, and his first goal was to secure Syria and claim the King of Asia title. While others were spending card points on new troops, I mostly went for political control and moved Peithon west to remove the Independents in Atropatene and get into Armenia.

During turn 2, various flailings continued in Asia Minor, but I defeated Jason’s army with the returned Antipater and started taking Thrace and Hellespontine. Meanwhile, Dave had lost the fight for control of Syria, but had managed to collect a great deal of legitimacy, and all the heirs (having turned south to take Damascus). In fact, we realized that he would fairly handily win the regency test at the beginning of turn 4.

Well, that couldn’t be allowed. Dave mostly ended up holed up in his major cities desperately protecting his various treasures (including Alexander’s Tomb, which he had immediately set up in Babylon). Mark moved both of his major generals into Babylonia and Susiana, limiting Perdiccas’ options. Peithon had finally gotten through Armenia and I started taking control of Mesopotamia.

We didn’t quite have enough time to finish turn 3, but what there was was exciting. Mark sprung his plan of launching both his armies at Babylon, trying to get the losses from one to weaken Dave for the other to finish it off if necessary. For the first battle, Craterus launched Mark’s best army at him, a good number of elephants present. Dave produced Anti-Elephant Devices. Mark canceled it with Hubris (which, I now note, is illegal, that only cancels Events and Bonus cards, not Surprise cards). And then Mark rolled poorly on the Elephants anyway and they did nothing. The battle ended up drawn, with Dave beating the attack back, and Craterus died. Then Ptolemy tried from the other direction, and was defeated. Then Mark tried again with Craterus’ army under a Minor General, but could not get a high die roll, and he lost that too, giving him very little on-board presence for the rest of the turn.

He came close, and it was not a bad idea, but I think he should have cut his losses after the second attack and kept some pressure on the board through the remaining Minor General.

Dave had received Demetrius at the start of turn three and installed him in Damascus. Shortly after this, Plans of Their Own came up and Olympias was moved from Greece to Halicarnassus. Dave immediately leapt out of Sardis with Antigonus and took her with play of Olympias. That boosted his Legitimacy to 17—one short of an auto-win. Also, since the regency test is the total of VPs and Legitimacy, this meant it could be hard to beat him even if his VPs were at a relatively low point.

Meanwhile, Antipater had crossed the Bosphorus at the end of turn 2. I considered this a problematic move, since it was leaving Macedonia fairly open. Sure enough, at the beginning of turn 3, Jason recovered his dispersed forces and immediately crossed into Europe, set on taking Thrace and Macedonia, and even successfully sieging Pella. Burning ops for movement, Polyperchon (replacing Antipater at this point) crossed back, attacked the minor army in Thrace, who successfully Avoided to Pella, and then made it to Pella to win a battle there.

Burning more ops points for movement, I moved him back into Asia Minor, and attacked Antigonus, who Avoided back to Sardis. Time was running out for us, and the end of the day was occupied by me by moving to break Dave’s control of Phrygia and Coele Syria, so I could fight him on better terms. I beat Demetrius’ army and on the third try took Damascus itself, gaining me Heracles, the Heir who was about to come of age.

With everything that had happened during the first half of turn 3, Dave’s edge had seriously eroded, and it turned out that I was now in front for the Regency test. Since I had the Heir that mattered for that in about one more round, and had the best intact military. I was judged the winner.

Everyone had a great time, and I was very glad to get such a great game to the table again. I’d say my win was in great part due to my greater experience with it. I lost one battle early on, but Jason never really followed up on it, and I was able to avoid relying too heavily on Mercenaries. An interesting note—I usually build more troops through cards than the other players, but everyone else built at least a couple, and I never built any. Early on, I was busy extending political control, and later I was having to really balance events and gaining extra movement.